Work begins in Scarborough on high-speed turnpike toll

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SCARBOROUGH — Construction began this week on Maine’s fourth E-ZPass open-road tolling facility, on Interstate 295 off Maine Turnpike Exit 44.

The $17.4 million plaza is being built just north of the existing toll plaza and south of I-295 Exit 1. It will include four ORT lanes, two in each direction, which provide E-ZPass customers the convenience of driving at highway speeds while electronic sensors collect tolls.

There will also be staffed toll booths for drivers paying cash.

The existing toll booths will remain open during construction. The project, which was awarded to Reed & Reed of Woolwich, will be completed in four phases over the next three construction seasons and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2019.

In a statement, the Maine Turnpike Authority said open-road tolling “significantly improves motorist safety with improved traffic flow and a reduced risk of rear-end collisions. The technology also has environmental benefits thanks to reduced air emissions.”

Peter Mills, MTA executive director, said “We have come up with a strategic construction plan that will minimize traffic interruptions by maintaining two open travel lanes in each direction, which mirrors the existing travel pattern.”

The four phases of the project are: roadway widening, ORT and utilities tunnel construction, cash lanes construction, and demolition of the existing toll facility.

Maine is one of 16 states that use the E-ZPass network, which allows drivers to receive toll discounts in all of the states in the network. States in the E-ZPass network collect a total of $10 billion per year in tolls, according to MTA.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

A rendering of the open-road tolling facility to be built on Interstate 295, off Maine Turnpike Exit 44 in Scarborough.